England were back to their blistering best as they defeated Pakistan by nine wickets to put themselves in a good position to qualify for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 semi-finals.
Seamer Katherine Brunt was in red-hot form as she and spinner Sophie Ecclestone took three wickets apiece to skittle Pakistan for 105 at the Hagley Oval. Danni Wyatt also enjoyed a return to form to lead England’s chase as her 76 not out saw the defending champions reach their total with more than 30 overs to spare.
The result hauls England up to fourth in the overall standings, one point behind West Indies – whose game against South Africa was abandoned earlier on Thursday – and ensuring another win for Heather Knight’s team against Bangladesh would see them leapfrog the Maroon Warriors and secure a semi-final spot.
Brunt kept her place despite one wicket in five matches and she repaid that faith by dismissing the returning Nahida Khan for a first-ball duck, before the first run-out of the day came as Bismah Maroof went needlessly going for a single.
Pakistan reached 28 for two by the end of the powerplay but a second run-out was not far away as Omaima Sohail went for 11 – off 30 balls – as Tammy Beaumont secured a direct hit.
Brunt would grab another as Nida Dar – the bowling hero of Pakistan’s win over West Indies – went for four from 22 deliveries, with a review confirming the LBW dismissal.
And in her very next over the England veteran dismissed the steady Sidra Ameen, who was bowled for 32 from 77 balls.
Ecclestone was the first slow bowler introduced into the attack at the halfway mark – but it was captain Knight who grabbed the first wicket off spin as she struck second ball to remove Aliya Riaz, who went for a misjudged sweep to short fine-leg where Anya Shrubsole gobbled up the catch.
Ecclestone made her mark just five overs later, however, as Fatima Sana nicked behind to wicket-keeper Amy Jones to depart for four.
Pakistan were collapsing and lost their final four wickets for just 10 runs, Kate Cross earning her only victim of the day as she sent Sidra Nawaz’s leg stump cartwheeling before Aiman Anwer and Diana Baig were also removed by in-form Ecclestone with 8.3 overs remaining.
England’s chase of their small target got off to a bumpy start as Beaumont was given out LBW on review for just two as Baig grabbed her first wicket of the day.
Wyatt was impressive as she looked to find some form at the top of the order, crunching all of England’s sevens boundaries in the powerplay. She brought up her half century off 51 deliveries, triggering celebrations but remaining firmly focused on the job in hand and getting it done as quickly as possible.
And she went on to do exactly that, combining with Knight for an 87-run partnership and her fluent 76 not out coming from 68 balls, including 11 fours.
Knight would end on a measured 24 not out from 36, happy to play second fiddle to Wyatt who was masterful in her stroke-play as England chased down 105 in just 19.2 overs.
For England, they must still beat Bangladesh in Wellington this weekend to make certain of their place in the knockout stages, while the defeat ends Pakistan’s outside chance of a push for the top four.
Scores in brief
England beat Pakistan at Hagley Oval, Christchurch, by nine wickets
Pakistan 105 all out in 41.3 overs (Sidra Ameen 32, Sidra Nawaz 23; Katherine Brunt 3/17, Sophie Ecclestone 3/18)
England 107/1 in 19.2 overs (Danni Wyatt 76 not out, Heather Knight 24 not out)
Player of the Match: Danni Wyatt (England)